Resistance to Change LO24672

Date: 05/24/00

I have been following the excellent postings regarding resistance to
change for several weeks and finally feel compelled to respond myself.

There has been much said in these posts about helping folks understand the
benefits of change (WIIFM), etc. However, there are times where the
change is truly only beneficial for the organization and not necessarily
the people within.

I am currently involved in a SAP implementation. I am the OD/Change
person on a team comprised of IT consultants - a challenging assignment,
at best. We are in a manufacturing plant that has undergone tumultuous
change for the past six years - sold twice, downsized mutliple times,
constant turnover of plant manager and exec. leadership, etc. The real
caveat is that the entire workforce has been at this plant since it opened
30 years ago. All supervisors and managers up to the exec level are also
part of this group. The average tenure is 28 years and many are within 2
years of retirement.

It has become totally apparent that SAP is being implemented to ready this
plant to be sold again. And this time, the buyer intends to totally
change the output of the plant so most of the current jobs will be
obsolete and eliminated. At this point, all of the exec leadership are
being reassigned to other plants or corporate i.e. they are being saved
while the workforce is just being left to flounder. In this environment,
we are supposed to find a compelling reason to get people excited about
SAP. Oh, did I mention that the first phase of SAP was implemented 4
years ago (very badly) and the staff who use it totally hate it and feel
it has terribly complicated their work?

I realize that this may be an extreme example but do believe that changes
occur each day in corporate America that truly benefit the organization
and perhaps the leadership far more than the people doing the work. And
those people are rarely involved in planning the change - it's usually
imposed upon them.

I think those of us who do change related work need to be careful that we
don't get too "Pollyannish" about becoming change ready. I consider
myself a strong change agent. However, when that change has pointed right
at me and I can't find any reason to see the benefits for me personally, I
resist just as hard as the next person.

Nancy Probst


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